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How can femininity help women in leadership?

Feminine 1st Women in leadershipWomen in leadership and females in business have become ‘hot topics’ over the last few years.

Between Sheryl Sandberg comment sharing how we have too few women in leadership on the TED stage and various news reports from all over the world about how women are underrepresented in business….it’s clear that this is a conversation that is sparking a lot of interest.

Women in leadership = feminine leaders?

The thing is, as we’re all acutely aware, women in leadership does not necessarily equate to feminine leadership.

We’ve all seen women in business who are doing a better job at being men than their male counterparts.  They’ve taken on the reins, slapped on their masculine masks and are leading the charge by showing very clearly who is wearing the trousers (or pants, depending where you’re based!)

I can’t blame women for taking this approach, I did it myself for a large number of years, and it’s often done because women in leadership think that’s what it takes to be successful – they’re just modeling the men who have been successful before them. It can also simply happen because the women in question have never seen or been shown another way of doing it.

But in taking this approach we end up missing out on tapping into our innate strengths.  The natural abilities we have as feminine women that can lead to successes in business that we never realised possible.

Women in leadership who tap into their feminine unleash a powerful force.

Having dealt with leadership the masculine way for many years, I know how it works.  I know that in certain circumstances it’s beneficial and in others it really doesn’t hit the mark.

But feminine leadership is a concept that I’ve only become familiar with in the last few years…and I know personally the difference that it can make.

I’m the leader of a women’s community here in London called Tribal Truth, and I’ve had times where I’ve stepped into leading in a masculine way.  I’ve taken everything on myself, I’ve been sure to keep my emotions in check and stay strong and I’ve not let anyone see what’s going on behind the scenes.

Quite frankly, at the times I’ve done this it has been lonely, painfully challenging and has felt like a continuous uphill battle.

For a woman who is feminine at her core, trying to lead in this way is at best ineffective and at worst quite detrimental.
When connecting to my femininity and leading from that place it always inspires a powerful reaction in the group I’m leading.

By connecting to my feminine and leading through emotionally connectedness, through building relationships, through collaboration rather than competition, through being openhearted and vulnerable the results are incredible.  By sharing my truth, and being seen for who I am, rather than a perception I am trying to create I inspire greater connection, respect, loyalty and support.

Even more importantly it gives those I’m leading to be seen for who they are and where they’re at, rather than feeling that they have to pretend to be something or somewhere they’re not.

It means you’re working WITH your team, rather than above them…walking along side them rather than in front of them.

Leading by example rather than by instruction.

By blending the best of our feminine traits with the masculine skills we’re so accustomed to, we find the ‘sweet spot’ that brings out the best in everyone.

Raking a purely masculine approach only gives us half the tools…as does taking a purely feminine approach…it’s when the women in leadership work WITH their male counterparts and each bring their strengths to the table, that’s when the magic happens.

Women in leadership often feel like they’re on their own

I’ve been very lucky.  When taking the tentative steps along the path of discovering what my own personal brand of feminine leadership, I’ve not been alone…I’ve had a tribe of incredible feminine leaders supporting me every step of the way.  Helping, guiding, reflecting back to me, supporting, sharing, acknowledging, celebrating,

…and leading this collection of women is a good friend of mine Tanya Paluso.

Tanya’s heart-centred commitment to ensuring that women step fully into their potential as feminine leaders is parallel to none. She stands for every woman who works with her with compassion, love and a focus on holding space for them to push through their self-imposed limitations and into the power that resides inside them.

Through working with Tanya as the London Tribe leader I have experienced breakthroughs in my feminine leadership that I wasn’t expecting, and have stepped into my power in a way that has transformed myself and the women in my tribe.

Tanya’s consistent ability to put herself out there in a vulnerable and inspiring way has allowed me to see even more clearly the power of feminine leadership and by acting as my mirror she has shown me the path to embodying it in every area of my life.

It’s by seeing how I respond to her open, honest, vulnerable leadership that I see how other people respond to my own.

In the last few weeks I’ve realised how many incredible women I have in my network and how much they have to share with you.   Tanya is one of these women and she has created a complimentary video series called “Leading in Truth” which she has allowed me to share with you.

Through this video series Tanya is sharing:

  • Why leadership is your key to freedom.
  • The Wheel of Co-creative Leadership, a cutting edge style in the new paradigm of business that we’ve been developing at Tribal Truth.
  • The 5 Essential Elements of leadership that will help you overcome the most common obstacles that women face when stepping into their power.
  • The #1 secret to starting an international organization so you can apply this powerful process to create your own movement!  (She will teach you how I took Tribal Truth across the pond to London without knowing anyone)

So if you would like to learn more about how femininity can help women in leadership and how Tanya’s own experiences can help you to step into your own power as a feminine leader then you can find the details here: goo.gl/bkObD

In addition, Tanya is doing a free call on Feminine Leadership later today! On this complimentary call, you will learn:

  • The 3 biggest obstacles to building teamwork and partnerships and how to overcome them
  • Why you need to expand your capacity to hold more in order to reach more people
  • How vulnerability will make you a more magnetic, authentic and effective leader
  • The #1 thing you must say to someone when asking them for their partnerships that will result in more YESes and long term growth
  • Her secret formula to building a movement quickly from nothing

I think it is so important for women in leadership to step into their power, and to do it together in collaboration.

Join the call TODAY at 12pm PST (8pm GMT):goo.gl/BRnkC

…and in the meantime I encourage you to think about how femininity can help you, as well as other women in leadership to be the best leader they can be.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

The day I fell apart…

Falling ApartOver the last few weeks I’ve been hearing the same comment on a regular basis….”you’re dealing with your breakup really well”.

Sometimes it’s said with surprise, sometimes it’s said with an element of hope…at other times with a slight hint of dismay.

At a lunch meeting a while back, a colleague mentioned to me that I was one of these women who seemed to always have it together…and she wondered if I ever have days where things just get too much.

Well, I do 🙂

I’m just like everyone else in that sense.

So today I thought I would share about one of my more ‘challenging days’…so that you can see that I have them, just like everyone else.

As you know, a couple of months ago I went through a difficult breakup when the boyfriend I was living with left unexpectedly the night before Valentine’s Day.

I shared a bit about my experience on my blog to help other women who might be going through a similar situation.

Unfortunately it was never going to be an easy split because he was involved in some technical aspects of my business…so as much as it would have been easier at that point to have had a completely clean break with no contact (at least for a while until the wounds begin to heal), this wasn’t the reality of my situation.

Over the past month or two we have had to stay in touch to try and work out the details and come to a conclusion about how things will be resolved, including a few financial issues.

So it has been challenging, but all in all, I’ve been doing pretty well. There have been good days, and bad days, but I’ve followed my own advice and felt whatever emotions have come up in order to begin to release them. I’ve had some health problems along the way, but generally I was doing OK.

…until last Tuesday.

Now, I love social media…it’s a great way to stay in touch with my many friends across the world, but there are times (like this) where I really wish that we weren’t so connected.

On Tuesday I had a phone call from a friend.

Unfortunately due to a problem with my friend’s phone I wasn’t able to have a proper conversation with her….I could hear her, but she couldn’t hear me…so I just had to listen, sat on my own in a venue in London.

She told me that few days before, through the magic of Facebook, it was announced that my ex was on holiday with his new girlfriend.

I felt a rush of emotions all at once….hurt, angry, betrayed, used,…you name it, I felt it.

I completely fell apart.

The challenge with this was that I got this information literally minutes before a meeting in London that I was supposed to be leading.

The women walked into the room to find me in tears.

A few years back, I would have ‘pulled myself together’, put on a brave face, and powered through.

Not on Tuesday.

On Tuesday I allowed myself to share what had happened. I was completely open, I was completely vulnerable and more importantly I allowed these amazing women to be there for me.

It didn’t stop the hurt, but it certainly did help.

What was interesting was the more I shared…the more the ladies there shared that they had had similar experiences…and it helped to know that there were others who had been where I was in that moment.

That completely honest connection with another person where you understand each other’s pain, you’ve walked in each other’s shoes, creates a bond. It gives a real sense of understanding, strength and hope.

So I’m sharing this today for one reason. I know that there are other women out there, perhaps you’re one of them, who are going through a situation like this.

It’s OK that it hurts. It’s OK that it’s painful. It’s OK that you don’t always have it together. It’s OK to sometimes have a hard time dealing with things. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK if you need to fall apart for a little while. It’s OK to lean on others….even if you’re supposed to be doing the leading.

We’re human.

None of us are perfect…myself included.

So the next time you have a moment when it just gets too much…give yourself permission to lean on the people around you.

You do so much for them, that it’s good for them to have the gift of giving back to you…especially at the times when you need it the most.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

femininity single woman

Femininity for the Single Woman…

femininity single womanWhen you start focusing on your femininity, it can be a bit of a challenge.

If you’re in a relationship it can be tough to step back and give the man in your life space to step into the masculine role.

If you’re not in a relationship it can be even harder, as there is no-one there to take on those masculine traits and step into the space that you’re creating.

You’re independent.

You’re strong.

You’re used to handling everything yourself.

So when a man does come along, it can be very hard to step back and relinquish some control when you’re so used to doing it all on your own.

How can you prepare yourself to become a partnership, when you’re used to running the show by yourself?

The first step is to stop doing it all yourself.

I know that you CAN do it all yourself…but does that mean that you WANT to?

Allow yourself to let others help you, more specifically the men in your life.

Male friends, male family members…if you could use a little help with things, then ask for it. If you make them feel needed the men in your life will be more than happy to help out.

The other thing is to get used to relinquishing control.

Take up a hobby where you have to step completely into your feminine…and simultaneously allow a man to take the lead.

A great example is dancing…such as salsa or ballroom.

As a salsa teacher myself, I know that if both the man and the woman are trying to lead, it doesn’t work.

In order for salsa to flow, one partner has to take the lead, the other has to follow.

When salsa is at it’s best, the man is leading, the woman is following.

The man is the frame, the woman is the picture.

The man provides the structure, the woman provides the beauty.

It requires trust.

For the woman it requires a belief that the man will step forward and take the lead.

For the man it requires a belief that the woman will step back and let him take the lead.

As a woman and a follower it requires letting go of the control we’ve been used to and going with the flow.

It’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean that the man is doing all the work.  Definitely not.  It’s a dance, a balance.   When dancing women need to provide some strength, resistance and assistance to the process, otherwise it doesn’t work.  Likewise she needs to be signalling that she’s ready for the move that’s coming (because trust me…a quadruple spin if you’re not ready or paying attention isn’t likely to work out too well!!)

Both in salsa and in life, learning to follow can be a challenge when you’re used to taking the lead all the time. But when you step back and let it happen, it can be fantastic.

Sometimes though, in order to move things along quickly, the ladies decide that they are going to ‘help’. Unfortunately they do this by taking over the lead and doing it all themselves…and the guys just have to watch, then try to catch up.

If this happens, the man never learns how to lead, and the woman never learns how to follow….they’re both just going through the motions.

Have you ever been in a relationship which has felt like this?

Neither get to really experience and enjoy the dance…it either becomes a battle (with both sides trying to lead) or the roles end up the wrong way around with the woman ‘back leading’ the dance and the man trying to keep up.

One question I get asked regularly, both from a femininity point of view and from teaching salsa is “What if he doesn’t take the lead?”

You will see it more obviously with salsa, but it’s true in both situations.

The simple answer is that if you show that you are ready and want him to make the move and then you don’t move, when he tries to lead…then he will know that he’s not being clear enough with his lead.

Firstly, you need to indicate that you are ready, in a way that is clear to him, in order for him to understand the move is his (there are a number of different ways of doing this, both in dancing and in life).

Once you’ve done this, if he’s trying to lead you to do something on the dancefloor, and it’s just not happening, he’ll understand that he’s not being clear enough with the lead he’s making.

If this happens a few times, he’ll soon work out that he needs to really step forward and take the lead in order to get the result he wants.

It might take a little time, but if you really step back and give him the space to lead (and let him know that it’s OK that it doesn’t work first time!  Have a laugh about it with him, smile!), he will soon step forward and learn how to do it so that you can both get the results that you want.

…and when he does, the best thing to do is to encourage and support him.

He might not get it right the first time, but with the space and support of a great partner, you’ll soon be dancing beautifully together.

The dance is all about balance…and the best way to find the balance?  Play with it! Have fun with it! Try different things, see what works and what doesn’t.

As a single girl, doing a hobby like this regularly will mean that you will get used to stepping back and handing the lead over to someone else (specifically a man). Which will make doing it in life so much easier…

Plus you can get fit and have fun in the process…it’s win-win!

Oh and remember that you only have 2 days left of the exclusive Feminine 1st subscriber offer! Be sure to get in before the offer ends on Sunday, as I wouldn’t want you to miss out! 🙂  If you don’t have any clue what I’m talking about, then put your name and email address into the pink box near the top of the page and I will send you all the details…!

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x